Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quick Translation - Dictionary and Translation FF Add-on

Last week Tekzilla shared a quick tip about adding a dictionary to your Firefox browser. To add a dictionary install the Firefox add-on Quick Translation and select wiktionary in the configuration menu.

I had not heard of Quick Translation prior to watching Tekzilla so I installed and tried it out. I was impressed by how quickly I was able to have words and phrases translated by the service. I also liked that I was able to see the original content while also viewing the translated content. A video demonstration of Quick Translation is embedded below.

Applications for Education
The Quick Translation Firefox add-on could be a handy tool for ESL/ EFL students as well as for anyone that would like to be able to access a dictionary without having to leave the webpage they're viewing.

Google Earth Tours and DIY Google Tours

Google Earth, as 46 blog posts in the last year will show, is one of my favorite resources for use in history, geography, and environmental science courses. Over the weekend I found David Tryse's Google Earth Files webpage where he shares some excellent Google Earth creations. Most of Mr. Tryse's Google Earth files are centered around an environmental science theme. The files listed include overlays for US National Parks, deforestation maps, oil spills, and biodiversity hotspots.

Creating Google Earth tours is not a terribly difficult task once you've done it a time or two, but that first experience can be frustrating for some students. The new Google Earth 5.0 makes it easier than ever to create tours. As easy as the new Google Earth 5.0 makes it create a tour, there are still some functions that your students may desire, but struggle to make work. Fortunately, people like Rich Treves on the Google Earth Design Blog put together detailed directions and tips for improving Google Earth tours. Today, Rich Treves published directions for creating a Google Earth tour with annotations. If you or your students are looking for tips for creating better Google Earth tours, check out the Google Earth Design Blog.

In case you're wondering if there are uses for Google Earth in literature or math check out Google Lit Trips and Real World Math.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

Developing an understanding of banking, particularly lending practices, can be difficult for many students. Fortunately, there are some great Internet resources to help students learn about banking including two videos that I recently learned about through TEA (The English Adventure).

The Crisis of Credit Visualized is a two part video series explaining how lending practices and mortgages in particular contributed to the cause of our current economic situation.

Part One

Part Two

Applications for Education
These videos are probably too advanced for use in elementary schools, but could certainly be used in middle school and high school classrooms as part of a unit on economics.

Here are three other video resources that you might also consider using as part of a lesson on economics.
Saving Money in Plain English
Understanding the Financial Crisis - Say It Visually
The History of Credit Cards in the United States

26 Inches of Snow and 36 Hours Without Power

You may have noticed that Free Technology for Teachers was silent yesterday. No, I didn't run out of things to talk about. I ran out of electricity to power my computer. On Sunday evening we received 26 inches of snow in Naples, Maine. Like 100,000 others we haven't had electricity at home for the last 36 hours. It's an odd experience to be involuntarily disconnected from the web. Hopefully, the power will be restored this evening and I'll be able to share some of the things I've learned about today.